This is my NaNoWriMo 2016 Project! New Posts Every Day in November, collected as a “book” when it’s all done!
The King stood excitedly over his map table, at one corner of his massive throne room. Oh, how he loved the map table! Not the table itself, more the map upon it. The table wasn’t anything special. It was a long wooden flat thing with wooden legs sticking out of the bottom.
The map though, that was really something! It was a beautiful, hand-crafted piece of parchment, made by the finest papersmiths in the kingdom. Upon it was drawn a detailed depiction of the King’s ever-expanding lands, and the 7 other kingdoms surrounding it on the island. The art was beautifully rendered, and it had taken a team of 45 artists almost 3 years to —
“Good lord, man! Enough with the exposition already!,” shouted the King to the air above his head. He stood from his chair at the map table and implored towards the ceiling. “It would have been fine to just say ‘The King was at his map table, which he loved!’ No need to provide all this extra detail! If you’d only just — “
The doors burst open and a guard came striding in. The King was startled. The guard was startled that the King was startled. “Everything alright my King?”
“Yes!,” declared the King. He straightened his royal robes and his royal crown. “You startled me!”
“Ah, well I come with news of Brutus! We’ve found him, sire.”
The King blinked. “Yes, and?” He beckoned the guard to come closer.
“Ah!,” said the guard, joining the King at the map table. “My men report seeing him wander the plains in the company of a goat.”
The King rolled his eyes. “Damn that Brutus, not again with the goat thing.” He looked over the table. “Which plains were these?”
The guard pointed to a large expanse of green on the table. “Here sir, right near our border with Whimseria.”
The King picked up a small statue of Brutus which had been sitting on top of a drawing of the old barn, and moved it to the plains. The guard made to speak again, but the King stopped him. “Just a moment! Not finished.” He bounded over to a nearby cabinet, and opened it. The tall wooden cabinet was filled with hundreds of tiny stone statues, shelved by category, and made with the care of the finest artisans, just like the map. “Let’s see, was it a small goat… or a big one?”
“I don’t really know sir, I-”
The King drew his sword and pointed it at the guard. “Let us try again. This goat that Brutus is traveling with…is it small or big?”
“It was small sir,” said the guard with a gulp.
The King smiled and sheathed his sword. “Small! Excellent.” He retrieved a statue of a small goat from the cabinet and placed it carefully next to Brutus. The King began to eye the drawing of the barn. “And the barn full of filthy peasants, did the other men successfully burn it?”
The guard nodded sheepishly. “They did sir.”
“Good!” The King said. He walked to a nearby torch hanging on the wall, grabbed it, whirled back around, and set the map on fire.
The guard freaked out. “Holy heavens my lord! You’ve set the map on fire! The map that took years of work to create!”
“Worry not my friend,” said the King. He hunched over the map and extinguished the small fire with a sharp breath. A charred hole remained where the drawing of the barn once was. “The map must be accurate! Nothing else matters! Fetch me the artisans at once.”
The guard tried not to roll his eyes, and failed. He saluted the King. “Yes, sire, right away.”
The guard clomped out of the room. The King continued to survey the map. “Excellent,” he said to the empty room, “with that completely useless and unimportant barn out of the way we can finally build the armory we need. It’s far enough out of the way that the citizens will never see it!”
“And soon, the Grand Invasion can begin!,” said the Empty Room.